10 Tips on How to Establish a Guest Blogging Policy
Content is significant to every brand and their marketing strategy -- but content creation takes time, effort, planning, and well-equipped writers. Some brands have the staff to write and whip out content continuously, while others seek outside sources. And some prefer both. When hiring guest bloggers to write for your brand, there are a few things to keep in mind when pulling together a guest blogging policy...
1. Have a go-to person internally: When you have a blogging staff, there should be a marketing manager (of one form or another) who can manage them, assign content topics, review and edit the posts, and publish accordingly. Most of all they should be there to answer questions and make sure the content is staying on strategy.
2. Set the bar / expectations: The marketing manager should set the expectations from the start regarding content quality expected for the blog on a consistent basis. Perhaps have the guest blogger do the first post as a test post to see if it fits the requirements and meets the bar.
3. Topics: Some content managers may prefer to have a content bank of ideas for writers to choose from or even specific titles per week/month that must be written. While others may prefer to have broader outlines of topics and have the writers choose as long as they are within a certain spectrum. This level of content strictness depends upon the content strategy implemented within the brand and how the relationship between the writers and manager work.
4. Deadlines: As with any marketing and content calendar, an editorial calendar is key in order to set deadlines for each writer. A deadline should be set with plenty of time for review in order to make edits if and when necessary prior to publishing.
5. Sources: Ensure that each writer sources their content in order to avoid issues of plagiarism and/or questioning of validity. Protecting the brand name is important and any writer would protect their own writing as well through sources.
6. Photos: All photos should be credited as well in order to ensure credit is given where credit is due -- especially if it is not purchased.
7. Formats: Each blog has their own type of formatting - whether it is subheadings, a thumbnail image, a certain font, or whatever it may be. Ensure you give proper style guide instructions prior to the writer starting so they are aware of all requirements beforehand.
8. Republication: Determine if you want to allow your bloggers to be allowed to republish their posts. If so - determine if it’s an excerpt, whether they have to link back, and/or if they have to wait a certain amount of time prior to doing so (ex. 14 days or 30 days).
9. Payment: Determine prior to the test post whether and how much you will pay each guest blogger. Payments are normally done per hour or per post (ex. 50/hour vs. 150/post).
10. Disclaimer: What if a blogger goes rogue? What is he/she writes something that becomes questionable? Protect your brand’s “behind” and ensure that each post has a disclaimer that it was authored by a guest blogger. It may still be backed by the brand, but it was not written by the brand.
Additional Tips: Give your bloggers some incentive and credit:
Allow each blogger to have a chance to be seen.
- Link to their blog, website, twitter handle, etc.
- Give them credit upfront through an introduction with their bio.
- Consider including a photo.
- Give them credit or recognition via Twitter when promotion the post (or whichever social channel your brand chooses to leverage).
Most of all don’t forget to update as needed - requirements, policies and guidelines change just as content and social media changes. Keep your writers posted of updates and consider asking them for their opinions on how things can be improved.
Image Credit: Bigstock Photo